Italian Orange Salad for Christmas Eve

by Dorothy Reinhold on December 24, 2015

Print This Post Print This Post Sweet oranges or tangerines, sharp onions, salty olives and zippy black pepper combine in a traditional Italian Orange Salad for Christmas Eve or any winter dinner. |

The simplest salad marks Christmas Eve for Italian families.

Sliced oranges drizzled with olive oil and showered with a grinding of fresh black pepper is all that’s needed to usher in the meal.

I recall (with chagrin) that when my mother served this to our family decades ago when I was a teenager, I was disdainful, and I actually remember calling it “oily oranges.” How she put up with that, I’ll never know. Sorry Mom.

Now, of course, I am older and wiser, and I understand that it is not only a traditional dish, but it is utterly delicious!

Italian Orange Salad on Shockingly Delicious. Many decades ago, oranges were not easy to come by in the winter, so they were special. In fact, you might have gotten an orange in your stocking, because that represented a once-a-year, expensive treat. Now, of course, we take them for granted and expect them year-’round.

These days, I have been re-appreciating this salad, and making it with all the winter citrus that’s in season, along with some of my own additions – Kalamata olives and shaved red onion slices, which complement it nicely.

It’s a keeper, and a winter winner!

Italian Orange Salad for Christmas Eve

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Sweet oranges or tangerines, sharp onions, salty olives and zippy black pepper combine in a traditional Italian Orange Salad for Christmas Eve or any winter dinner.


  • 6 Jeju mandarins (or use any combination of oranges, blood oranges or tangerines)
  • 3 thinly shaved slices of red onion, cut into quarter moons
  • 12 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • Olive oil
  • Grinding of fresh black pepper


  1. Peel and slice tangerines crosswise, and lay the slices overlapping slightly on a plate or platter. You get points for making it pretty! Strew red onion and olives halves over. Drizzle with olive oil and grind some fresh black pepper over all.
  2. You may prepare the salad several hours ahead of time, cover with Saran wrap and leave on the counter at room temperature until serving time.
  3. Serves 4.


Recipe source: Dorothy Reinhold | Shockingly Delicious

Italian Orange Salad on

About Jeju Mandarins

Jeju mandarins are grown only on Jeju Island, south of the South Korea peninsula. They are known for their superb, sweet, juicy, low-acid taste, and they’re seedless and easy to peel. They’re worth seeking out in your produce department, distributed by Melissa’s Produce, which sent me samples to taste.

Jeju Mandarins from Melissa's Produce

Sunday Supper

I brought my traditional Italian Orange Salad to our Sunday Supper potluck. We’re celebrating holidays, heritage and traditions, and the food that plays such a large role in our celebrations. Join us and try something new from these suggestions to add to your own holiday celebration!


Appetizers & Snacks


Main Dishes



Merry Christmas to everyone!

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts December 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Sounds like a great salad! Hope you have a great Christmas!


The Ninja Baker December 23, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Thank you for the reminder of how privileged we are to have easy access to oranges. As a kid, the fruit was always in my stocking. It was a tradition. I love how you’ve honored your history, your mother with your bright Italian Orange Salad.


Martin D. Redmond December 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm

My kinda recipe…easy, and by the looks of it tasty! Thanks for sharing!


kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts December 23, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I’ve got Band Fruit Fundraiser oranges and tangerines in the fridge–I think I’ll try this!

Thank you!


Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious December 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm

What a gorgeous, vibrant salad! This is definitely a must-try in my book!


The Wimpy Vegetarian December 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I make a very similar orange salad every winter when all the citrus comes into season – it’s a wonderfully refreshing salad!! Thanks for sharing!


Hezzi-D December 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Such a pretty salad! I love the oranges.


Tora Estep December 23, 2012 at 9:22 am

Thanks for sharing! We always had (and have) mandarin oranges for Christmas. The smell when you peel the orange has always been evocative of the holidays for me. It is interesting that oranges are part of the holiday traditions around the world because they used to be so rare, just like the rich spices.


Sarah December 23, 2012 at 9:15 am

The fam would love this for sure


Kate@Diethood December 23, 2012 at 9:04 am

I did not know that this was an Italian salad… my dad makes it all the time and I thought that he made it up!! 🙂 It’s a gorgeous salad!


Paula @ Vintage Kitchen December 23, 2012 at 9:00 am

This is perfect for our summer Christmas! Isn´t it good that our palates develop over time? Have a great Christmas Dorothy!


Shannon December 23, 2012 at 8:03 am

Yum! A simple but memorable dish. Thanks for sharing!


Amy Kim (@kimchi_mom) December 23, 2012 at 7:39 am

Looks and sounds so refreshing. I love the juxtaposition of sweet and salty flavors in this salad. And I’m really curious about those jeju mandarins. I’ve never heard of them!


Jen @JuanitasCocina December 23, 2012 at 7:22 am

I want oily oranges!


Dorothy December 23, 2012 at 9:08 am

And you shall have them!


Susan December 23, 2012 at 7:18 am

Such a beautiful, bright salad for your table! I think I would have responded the same way as a teenager, but now. Yum!


familyfoodie December 23, 2012 at 5:25 am

I have never tried Italian Orange Salad but it looks amazing… can’t wait to try it! It has been such a pleasure getting to know you this past year! Thank you for being part of #SundaySupper. Merry Christmas to you and your family!


Liz December 23, 2012 at 5:25 am

What a gorgeous, refreshing salad for the holidays! Perfect balance to all the carbs. Merry Christmas, Dorothy and happy #SundaySupper!


Bea December 23, 2012 at 1:43 am

It certainly also looks beautiful!


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